Traveling

mauna_kea.jpgOne month ago my mother told me to prepare my nerves and that I am going to experience how it is to drive in a plane in two weeks. I was kind of terrified by the idea of flying in a giant pile of metal, but I suppose things that are new to us can be quite scary.
She didn’t want to answer where we are going, it was a surprise. To be honest she have the best surprises you can imagine so I was really looking forward towards whatever she was planing this time.

Two weeks passed fast and as we arrived to the airport I realized we are going to Hawaii! That was amazing, a surprise vacation. I told her how I can hardly wait to start swimming, but her response was that we might not have time for that. So why the hell would we go to Hawaii if not to enjoy ourselves in the ocean?

As we arrived to Hawaii in that shaky and rather scary airplane (my hands were dead tired from clenching when we arrived) we went straight to rent a car and drove towards a huge mountain. She said it was an inactive volcano named Mauna Kea and that we will be going straight to the summit which is 14,000 feet higher than the water level. The little gears in my head started turning and I remembered.. Mauna Kea… world’s largest astronomical observatory. Suffice to say I couldn’t control myself and was even more excited then before.

We stayed for their nightly stargazing program at The Visitor Information Station which was amazing and their staff was very knowledgeable. I think even my mother learned couple of things.

After a good night sleep we went for the summit, which introduced me to altitude sickness. The sudden change in oxygen levels and climate were rather shocking. The trip was a fantastic experience.

Home Expansion

We have started a “little” project of expanding our house. My mother hired a designer who finished recently and now we are looking for a contractor. We are building a mini stargazing observatory as part of our home!

I am so excited about this that I just had to write about it. Can you imagine having your own observatory? Actually forget the observatory, you know what will be IN the observatory? Meade RCX400 20.0”/508mm Telescope. I cannot wait to get my hands on that beast.

But naturally first the house, so it will take a little while. We expanded our house once before when I was very young now that I think about it, actually the place where I am sitting right now was a garden once upon a time.

observatory

Update:
So the work has finally begun and there’s noise from machines all day long. It would be unbearable if I didn’t realize what will come out of all that hard work the guys are doing. There was a little accident and they damaged a wall and broke a window two days ago, but they will take care of the damages so all is well. I’ll make sure to add some pictures in the next update!

test

My Equipment

While I had a very humble gear when I’ve began stargazing over the years as my knowledge and desires grew I needed a better equipment. So here’s what I have today.

My telescope actually just got a huge upgrade couple of months ago, when I received a very big package for my birthday. I wondering what the hell could be inside, could it be a prank, a huge TV perhaps? I was stumped when I realized it was a Orion SkyQuest XT8i IntelliScope Dobsian Telescope. Holy ****¨! Best birthday ever.

Till then I had Orion SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector Telescope which seemed amazing to me. I could see all the little crates on the moon with it, the detail of Jupiter was incredible. I could even see a few distant galaxies from the comfort of my little room. After having a first look through SkyQuest I was simply stunned. You could say I stargazmed.

The Dobson mount is very smooth, and oh my god the IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator.. fantastic! Its very accurate and includes over 14 000 objects in its database. Amazing piece of technology.

This couldn’t get any better right?
Well as it turns out it can! Recently I have purchased TeleVue eyepiece and the improvement is staggering.

This telescope and eyepiece is everything an amateur stargazer could wish for. I don’t think there will be much improvement over next couple of years.

So what kind of equipment are you guys using? Comment below.

Beginners Guide To Stargazing

I will release several updates for this post over time. The thing I would like to start with is budget. No matter what you already know and what you desire, you cannot do anything without a telescope. So question is, how much can you afford?

Very high quality telescopes are very expensive, huge and can be rather complicated. They’re amazing at what they do and they can show you things you cannot see with a cheap telescope. But the thing is that when you’re just starting out you don’t know better anyway. Discovering things with cheaper telescope while you’re still an amateur will be just as exciting with higher priced one. Perhaps you won’t be able to see distant nebulas and all sorts of things but discovering exactly how the moon looks like, learning about Jupiter and stars of milky way is what you can do, and in my opinion the most fun thing to do. Now when I say an amateur telescope I don’t mean from children department.

starting

First of all your telescope must have a solid, steady, and smooth working mount. The second is high-quality, “diffraction-limited” optics. The one that I would recommend is Orion’s XT8, an 8″ Dobsonian reflector. Its 8″ diameter reflector optics lets you view the Moon and planets in close up detail, and has enough light grasp to pull in pleasing views of faint nebulas, galaxies and star clusters. Its of great quality, very stable and if you ever need an upgrade you just buy a quality Eyepiece. But more about that in the next update.

spaaaace

How I Got Into Stargazing

My interest in stargazing came to me at a very young age, I suppose mainly because of the fact my mother is an theoretical astrophysicist. Plus living on the perfect spot helps as well.

When I was 8 year old my parents divorced and it was a very difficult time. But something changed and perhaps for the better, my mother started spending a lot of time with me and eventually me my very first telescope and slowly started to teach me about constellations and all kind of interesting facts for which I had no idea if they were true at the time. I became insanely interested in watching the night sky and wanted to know everything there is about space. I loved watching the stars so much that for every essay we were allowed to choose what we want to write about, I wrote about stars. I wanted to have my mothers job when I grew up, who wouldn’t want to work on something they love after all? I still have a pretty long way to reach that dream but I have learned a lot over the years. Plus with my mother backing me up with her experiences is pretty much like cheating my way into the profession :D

Back then things were very different, you could say stargazing was very private. Today with all the new technology we not only get to share our thoughts and opinions but we can share what we see through our telescopes with people all over the world. And that’s where this site comes in.

Welcome to my humble home, my Astro Place.